'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 19 April 2012

Review: Goldilocks and Just the One Bear

If the cover doesn't make you coo, the endpapers of busy buildings will definitely elicit a coo or two - and then the title page, oh my. Even the imprint page is delicious.

It's so so so so nice when a publisher allows an author/illustrator to get busy with it - I am LOVING the creativity inherent in this book, and these small, a-typical extras (like the real life baby face photo of the book's dedication recipient, wrapped up in an illustrated bear suit) do not go unnoticed.

One day, bear gets lost in the city. He doesn't much like this place - far too busy, too many bright lights and not nearly enough twigs.

Nipping into Snooty Towers in an attempt to get away from the racket, he finds himself even woozier than before. Taking the lift to the 17th floor, he inadvertently finds himself inside a very pleasant high rise apartment. Just the place for a little sit down, to make everything tickety-boo.

Of course, all this hoo-ha also makes bear hungry. Surely a spot of porridge wouldn't go astray? Sampling the gold fish bowl with a spoon, bear finds the 'porridge' a tad soggy. Sampling the cat food, he finds the 'porridge' a bit too crunchy. Sampling some toast and honey, he finds it a little on the dry side, but he supposes it's better than nothing.

Time for that sit down. First he tries the cactus - a little too prickly. Then the cat - a little too noisy. Then the bean bag, which, despite popping its contents all over the carpet, is just right.

And on goes our mishap-ridden bear, in search of a bit of rest, which he soon finds under the duvet of a bed - but wait! No rest for the ditzy. When a ritsy family of three (a daddy person, a mummy person and a little person) rock up to see the goldfish bowl, kitty nibbles and burst bean bag, chaos temporarily ensues . . . until the mummy person and the bear suddenly realise they look awfully familiar to each other . . .

I'm loving the language Hodgkinson uses in this book - charming and quirky, complete with hand-drawn typography to underscore the unique text. I'm loving the illustrations - so modernly rendered and with that textured, layered look that works so well - reminiscent of Lauren Child's work.

Wordage is a tad longer than regular picture books but it flows quickly and evenly and is beautifully-edited and masterfully divided into speech bubbles and meandering text. Other than the language and remarkable illustrations, what I love most is the crossover appeal of this book - making it a winner with the very young, the moderately young and the wannabe young, just like me.

Like the iconic fairytale, Goldilocks and Just the One Bear is just right.

Title: Goldilocks and Just the One Bear
Author/Illustrator: Leigh Hodgkinson
Publisher: Nosy Crow, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 April 2012
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9780857630438
For ages: 3 - 8+
Type: Picture Book